Thursday, November 17, 2016

Please Welcome Back Mystery Author Joe Cosentino

Omnimystery News: Guest Post by Joe Cosentino

We are delighted to welcome back author Joe Cosentino to Omnimystery News.

Joe's latest mystery in his Jana Lane series is Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press; November 2016 trade paperback and ebook formats) and today he brings us up to date on what's happening with a couple of characters from the books.

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Joe Cosentino
Photo provided courtesy of
Joe Cosentino

Joe: Welcome Jana Lane Otley and Christopher Bove from my novel Rag Doll, the fifth Jana Lane mystery.

Jana: It’s great to be out of your head, Joe.

Bove: At least you’re in all five books, Jana. I’m only in Satin Doll and Rag Doll.

Jana: My favorites.

Bove: I bet you say that to all your leading men.

Joe: Speaking of leading men, since the readers can’t see each of you, tell us what you both look like.

Bove: It’s no secret that I find Jana stunning. She has a knock-out figure, soft blonde hair, crystal-blue eyes, a cute button nose, and a kind heart for everyone.

Jana: Don’t stop.

Joe: Your turn, Jana.

Jana: As an ex-football player, Bove is tall, ruggedly handsome, quite muscular, with thick dark hair and very sexy eyes.

Joe: Remember you’re a happily married woman, Jana.

Jana: Married, but not dead. Bove’s a good guy. He comes off gruff, but he’s sweet as ice cream.

Bove: Which flavor?

Jana: Bove’s parents own a restaurant in DC. So he’s very much into food.

Joe: Bove, when I first thought you up in Satin Doll, you were a detective in Washington, DC. You helped solve the murder mystery there.

Bove: Actually, Jana solved it. You should know that, Joe. You wrote it.

Jana: Thanks, Bove.

Joe: You are not only unlucky in solving crimes, Bove, but also unlucky with women.

Jana: How many ex-fiances do you have, Bove?

Bove: Do I have to answer that?

Jana: Our lives are open books, Bove.

Bove: (sighs) Okay, my first fiancé left me at the altar — for my brother. The next one ditched me when she got busy with political life in DC in Satin Doll. The third one dumps me in Rag Doll.

Joe: They say three strikes and you’re out. Who is the right woman for you, Bove?

Bove: She’s an actress, and she’s already taken.

Jana: Ah, that’s sweet, Bove.

Bove: It’s true. Kelly Rippa is incredibly hot.

Jana: Very funny. Bove’s latest, Karen, is a dominatrix actress involved with our director, Herm Fenton, on The Detective’s Wife in Rag Doll.

Bove: Thanks for mentioning that, Jana.

Jana: My pleasure, Bove.

Joe: Tell us about Rag Doll, your latest mystery.

Jana: With the success of Miami Vice and Murder, She Wrote, I was excited when my agent, Simon, told me I would be starring in a new television murder mystery series, The Detective’s Wife. It was quite a surprise when I found out Bove had become an actor and was playing my husband on the series. Take it from there, author.

Joe: And rags to riches ingénue Christa Bianca is the guest star for the pilot episode. Jana and Christa became fast friends, and wouldn’t you know, there was an attempt on Christa’s life. Before we knew it, murder ensues.

Jana: Christa’s past as a poor, small town girl who the other kids called, “Ragdoll,” touched my heart. I was incredibly concerned about Christa and those dear to her when it became clear there was a murderer on our set.

Bove: Joe, one thing I don’t get. Why do other actors keep working with Jana Lane? She attracts murder like apple pie to the heartland. Speaking of apple pie —

Joe: Jana, tell everyone about the suspects, besides Karen who covets Christa’s role, and Herm the director?

Jana: Christa’s has-been agent is a good suspect, as is Christa’s uncle who is also guest-starring on the episode.

Bove: And trying to hold onto Christa’s coattails with his career in decline.

Joe: I’m impressed, Bove. You’re an actor for only a few weeks and you’ve already grown claws.

Bove: You thought me up.

Jana: Continuing with the suspects, Andrew, Christa’s controlling manager/husband is a prime suspect. As are two couples playing bit roles who have a conflict with Christa and Andrew.

Bove: Don’t forget your son’s nanny and her boyfriend, Jana, our mysterious prop master with a secret.

Joe: Everyone seems to have a secret in Rag Doll, and each secret is revealed by the end of the book.

Bove: And once again The Littlest Detective and School Spy uses her knowledge from her movie roles as a kid and figures out whodunit in a spine-tingling climax.

Jana: This one was my toughest. The clues somehow didn’t add up, until the final reel.

Joe: For anyone who hasn’t read the other Jana Lane mysteries, tell them about America’s most famous ex-child star.

Jana: In Paper Doll at thirty-eight I live with my family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. My flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in my future. I venture back to Hollywood, which helps me uncover a web of secrets about everyone I love. I also embark on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of my old producer, Rocco Cavoto. In Porcelain Doll, I make a comeback film and uncover who is being murdered on the set and why. My heart is set aflutter by my incredibly gorgeous co-star, America’s heartthrob Jason Apollo.

Bove: I’m not in either of those. But I am in the next one. In Satin Doll, Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a flirtation with me, the detective. Jana rubs elbows with senators on both sides of the aisle, a lobbyist, and a Washington reporter.

Jana: In China Doll, I head to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by my gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off.

Bove: I wasn’t in that one.

Joe: Sorry, Bove. Jana, in addition to making a terrific career comeback and solving numerous murder mysteries, you seem to have a lot of flirtations with men.

Jana: Brian is the only man for me, but you can’t blame a girl for looking.

Joe: In addition to your loyal husband, Brian, your agent Simon has been by your side in each book.

Jana: Simon is amazingly resilient, old world Hollywood, incredibly funny, and totally loyal.

Joe: Now Simon is Bove’s agent too.

Bove: How old is Simon Huckby?

Joe: Somewhere between senior citizen and rigor mortis. I want to play him in a movie or TV version.

Jana: I have a question for you, Joe. Is Christa Bianca, the ingénue, based on any young successful actress past or present? How about Christa’s Uncle Nick, the aging character actor?

Joe: Christa is a beautiful, talented young woman who escapes her impoverished small town life and embarks on a successful film and television career. I’m sure there are many young actresses like her, past and present. In our youth-oriented society, there are also many aging character actors put out to pasture before their time. The interesting thing about Nicholas Hartford is how his niece looked up to him when she was a child, and now he looks up to her — hoping to ride on her coattails back to the top. I think we’ve seen that happen in a number of show business families.

Bove: How about that dinosaur, gossipy female television interviewer in Rag Doll. Is Harriet Hologram representative of Barbara Walters?

Joe: I believe there are many television reporters and interviewers who wield their power over celebrities. I see it as a love/hate relationship, where both interviewer and star need each other to promote their work and their careers. It’s a shame the process needs to be so hurtful. I believe that is stoked by many viewers’ interest in celebrities’ health crises, divorces, bad reviews, and other misfortunes.

Jana: Is my Jana Lane AIDS Foundation patterned after Elizabeth Taylor’s AIDS Foundation?

Joe: Though Jana Lane is quite different from Elizabeth Taylor, like the great actress and humanitarian of yore, you are one of the very few celebrities to pick up the banner and raise money for treatment and a cure while our government representatives ignore the crisis that affected millions of Americans.

Bove: Kudos to you, Joe, for having Jana and me support each other in our personal problems.

Jana: After all we’ve gone through together, we can be totally honest with one another. Ours is a great friendship, Bove.

Joe: Jana, in this novel you are again confronted by a character who uses his religious beliefs to attack the rights of others. Do you think Christians will be offended by your reaction to Andrew Bianca’s verbal attacks on your gay co-stars?

Jana: I sure hope not since I’m a Christian.

Bove: Jana is a true Christian to me since she tries to love her neighbor as herself, not judge others, and help the downtrodden and outcasts. Jana would agree with me that freedom of religion means the freedom to worship as you choose, not try to take away the civil rights or self-worth of others.

Jana: You should put this guy in the next book, Joe.

Bove: Thanks, Jana. I find it fascinating how you use the skills you learned as a child star to solve the crimes. How do you remember all of your old movies?

Jana: Joe keeps great notes.

Joe: It’s sure fun writing it, but is it fun living in 1985 in Rag Doll?

Jana: I love the hairstyles, clothing, makeup, music, movies, television shows, and dances. Bove looks adorable in his parachute pants, colored T-shirt, and white jacket.

Bove: Thanks. It’s an interesting time socially and politically as well.

Jana: Though they each take place in the 1980’s, I like how each Jana Lane mystery is its own story.

Bove: And you play fair in your mysteries, Joe, meaning the clues are there, and so are the plot twists and turns, and white knuckle shocking ending.

Joe: I don’t like mysteries where characters are introduced and the writer arbitrarily picks the murderer at the end. The readers feel cheated. At the end of a mystery, the readers should say, “Of course! How did I not see that?” I agree about the ending. It still makes my heart race when I read it — and I’m still surprised.

Jana: Joe Cosentino is definitely the man behind the woman.

Bove: Does Joe have another mystery series besides the Jana Lane mysteries?

Jana: Yes, the Nicky and Noah comedy mysteries published by Lethe Press. Each novel is loaded with wacky humor and romance in a fast-paced whodunit. Since Joe is a college theatre professor/department head, and theatre departments are havens of mystery, secrets, romance, and high humor; the series takes place at an Edwardian style New England college. In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary novel of 2015) theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains. With the inept local detectives, it is up to Directing professor, Nicky Abbondanza to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the murders, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky’s intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, handsome Noah Oliver, the prime suspect in the murder. In Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. In Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah go on a cruise to Alaska, and discover why college theatre professors are going overboard like lifeboats while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship.

He also has his MM romance novellas published by Dreamspinner Press. They are An Infatuation (Divine Magazine Readers’ Choice Award 2nd Place for Best MM Romance), A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland. Finally there is the MM series Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, and Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out taking place on the Jersey Shore and published by NineStar Press.

Bove: Joe, as a college professor/department head, how do you have the time to write?

Jana: I help him by filling his head with thoughts and ideas.

Joe: Jana, who do you think is the ideal reader of the Jana Lane mysteries?

Jana: A lover of mystery, romance, and Hollywood. Someone who craves being swept away by a story and becoming part of the novel. My reader loves clues, suspects, and plotlines that zigzag with numerous surprises leading to a shocking yet totally justified conclusion. Finally, my reader relishes in beautiful, lush locations and captivating characters as she/he enters the portal of my book.

Bove: How can readers contact us?

Jana: Through Joe. He tells us everything.

Joe: I love hearing from readers. (Editor's note: Joe's website and social media sites are listed below the interview.)

Joe: Thank you Jana and Bove for stopping by.

Jana: It was a delight.

Bove: Let’s head to a restaurant. Hopefully we won’t be served a huge portion of murder.

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Actor, playwright, and author Joe Cosentino received his MFA from Goddard College in Vermont, and MA from SUNY New Paltz. He is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York.

For more information about the author, please visit his website at website and his author page on Goodreads, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Rag Doll by Joe Cosentino

Rag Doll by Joe Cosentino

A Jana Lane Mystery

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press Print/Kindle Format(s) Print/Nook Format(s)

America's most famous ex-child star Jana Lane is starring in The Detective's Wife, a murder mystery television show in 1985. Guest starring on the show is Christa Bianca, a rags-to-riches ingénue who has flooded the entertainment press.

Life imitates television as cast members are murdered, and once again it's up to Jana, along with sexy ex-detective Chris Bove, to save the day before the lights fade to black.

Rag Doll by Joe Cosentino


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